Would you label Daniel Radcliffe stupid?

Daniel Radcliffe was lucky. Although he was told he was stupid at school as per this article in the Guardian he had other opportunities and was in a fairly elitist school anyway. Even so…the article goes on….

he was unconfident and largely unhappy at school. He went to posh schools, where you were considered a loser if you were no good at sport. He still remembers a teacher at the independent day school for boys that proudly cites him as a star alumnus, telling him he was stupid when he was eight years old, and how devastating he found that. “At the time I just believed him.” His voice rises to a hurt squeak. “I thought, I probably am stupid, but when you grow up, you think that’s outrageous for a teacher to say that to a small child… I was probably just talking to somebody or asking for something. I was a very disorganised, talkative boy. And there are some people who just don’t do well at school. I am not somebody who will learn best when you tell me to sit down and be quiet and sit still. I learn by talking back and engaging in conversation and walking around.”

Is he hyper? “Yes, I think I am quite hyper. I think if I’d been born a few years later, I might have been diagnosed with ADHD, but I missed the boat for all those diagnoses.” If you shut your eyes, you could be listening to a sweet old man looking back on a distant past. “I always feel sorry for people when they say school’s the best days of your life. It really isn’t. If it was, you must have a terrible life.” He coughs like a consumptive. “I never understand that. That was one of the things I loved about Potter initially, it got me out of school.”

But what about all the other kids who don’t get out? All the kids not so lucky as him, who have no film to go to, for whom being told they’re stupid is just as hard but who go on believing it all their school lives and beyond. In the end believing they are too stupid to do anything so they might as well not bother, just go on taking handouts and remain dependent as the government possibly wants them to be so they can be controlled!

Or is that just my cynicism showing? There seem to be quite a lot of examples around!

He is not the only one who learns best engaging in conversation and moving about, among other approaches. Thousands of kids are the same but their needs are generally disregarded within a system designed around children being still and obedient receptacles as if that was the only way to learn – it isn’t! But it is the only way the government can drill large numbers of kids towards test passes, whilst using the fewest amount of teachers they can get away with paying. Test passes winning parents’ votes and conning people into thinking it’s education – it isn’t!

Daniel is so like so many other children who need different approaches in order to fulfil their learning potential. Children who are being ignored. Who can’t all be Harry Potter.

What provision is made for them?


6 thoughts on “Would you label Daniel Radcliffe stupid?

  1. Pingback: How home educating helped our autistic son | Ross Mountney's Notebook

  2. I have an 11 yro whom we removed from school in the first term of year one. He was six. They had stopped teaching him anything but social skills so he would be prepared for the local special skill and he was allowed to play and do what he wanted all day. They gave up on him because he was ticking none of the horrendous ofsted boxes. I am sure they wanted to do differently with him but there was no time for all (or any) of his needs to be met.
    They told us to concentrate on his life skills so he could aim for living in a group home, that was the best we could hope for. They really didn’t like us much and I think us constantly trying to support our child in a system that essentially had no room for him did not improve their willingness to try.
    He is autistic. Within weeks of taking him out of school as a child who could not recognise his letters he read a chapter book, by eight he had read an entire adult spider encyclopedia. Most importantly he was happy and had stopped crying because he had picked up the idea he was stupid and didn’t try hard enough.
    He has recently learned how to join in with games and speak to his friends. Two days ago he played with a strange child in a playground with other friends. This is a huge milestone and totally unexpected.
    He becomes kinder, braver and happier all the time away from school. Like Daniel he was also labelled and would have been discarded had it not been for home schooling. Oh, and he loves learning and life now.

  3. Name calling by teachers is common. But people under stress do do make impulsive comments. 20 to 30 kids to me sounds stressful and the ones who want to move and talk to much arent going to help that. My girls left school three years ago. But my ten year old regularly spouts off tales of children being humiliated infront of whole class or wetting themselves despite repeatedly asking to go to the toilet. This sort of thing I feel is only going to get worse. The pressure increases on teachers just as much as it does children. The teachers want to do a good job and get through all that required but children’s constant requests for toilet breaks or natural inquiry only gets in the way. I took my girls out as my youngest (who now has asd diagnosis) was carried down 5 flights of stairs kicking and screaming after a problem with order of line. My whole family is scared by the school experience I could be cross about it all, but as time goes by and you look in from afar. I just empathise with the craziness of the whole system. We have a culture of stressed kids, parents and teachers and its built on fear. Fear of failing!! This in private schools horrendous. I’m glad to of escaped. As I now watch my friends threating and stressing about the September the 11 plus. Spending a fortune on tutors. Having upset children slamming doors and declaring hatred. All because of a test. Just to prove their child’s intelligence. The only real learning is how to pass the particular schools test. That could of so easily been me. Instead we are planning a trip to Naples to visit Pompeii. (Girls request) What a lucky escape for both us and Daniel Radcliffe!

    • Thanks so much for leaving your story Shannon. You’ve highlighted so many valuable points here and given a very accurate description. The saddest thing about the stress of testing is that it doesn’t even show what it’s supposed to show – so it’s all for nothing! Have some fabulous trips – far, far more educative than tests! 😉

  4. Pingback: You Stupid | The Tale Of Humoural Medicine

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